Chch police 'working through the night' to identify abusive man

Author
NZ Herald,
Section
Crime,
Publish Date
Thursday, 11 April 2019, 2:33PM
A man was witnessed shouting abusive remarks about the Muslim community. (Photo / Supplied)
A man was witnessed shouting abusive remarks about the Muslim community. (Photo / Supplied)

Christchurch police say they are reviewing the way they responded to a man who shouted abuse outside the Christchurch mosque where 42 people were killed.

Two armed police officers were at the scene when the man caused a disturbance outside the mosque at around 4.30pm yesterday. Video taken at the time shows they spoke to the man before letting him go.

Today, police said they were now searching for the man, who was described as Caucasian and was wearing a black "Trump for New Zealand" shirt and a black baseball cap.

New photographs of the suspect were released by police this evening.

Police released this image of the man they are seeking this evening, saying he had short dark hair and a tattoo on his left shoulder/neck area. Photograph / Supplied
Police released this image of the man they are seeking this evening, saying he had short dark hair and a tattoo on his left shoulder/neck area. Photograph / Supplied
Photo / Supplied
Photo / Supplied

Canterbury District Commander Superintendent John Price said the incident was being treated extremely seriously.

"I spent time at the Masjid Al Noor mosque last night and the community is understandably shaken by this behaviour," he said.

"Two armed officers were outside the mosque at the time [and] we are reviewing our response to this incident.

"Our community has no tolerance for those who target or victimise others because of their identity, and nor does police.

"This is especially so for members of our Muslim community who are already dealing with so much."

A post on the Muslims in Christchurch and Canterbury Facebook page said the man was "swearing and saying that all Muslims are terrorists" and "that we hate Jesus, in addition to saying that we all need to leave NZ, among other things".

The man was outside the mosque for around 15 minutes while he "kicked and tried to damage some of the memorial items" along Deans Ave in front of the masjid.

A photo of the man surfaced online of him being talked to by police.

This morning, a police spokesperson said the man could face criminal charges.

"Police are aware of a man who acted in a disorderly manner on Deans Ave yesterday, and are actively seeking him. He could face a disorderly behaviour charge," the spokesman said.

Armed police remain outside the Al Noor Mosque where a gunman entered during Friday prayer on March 15 and killed 42 people. The shooter then went across town to Linwood Mosque and killed another seven people.

The city has been on high alert ever since the terror attack.

Several people have been charged with various offences since the attack, including a 28-year-old Australian national who faces 50 charges of murder and 39 charges of attempted murder.

Others have been charged with distributing footage of one of the mosque shootings.
There has also been at least one other disturbance charge laid after a man allegedly caused a scene outside the Al Noor Mosque.

 

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